After the Oscar-winning 2008 documentary Man on Wire told this story with such energy and suspense, it was only a matter of time until someone decided to make a full-on adventure movie. And it's no surprise that the filmmaker turned out to be Robert Zemeckis, known for putting the seemingly unfilmable on the screen, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Forrest Gump to The Polar Express. So even if the film feels oddly artificial, this is a rousing, thrilling movie overflowing with cheeky energy.
At the centre of the story is Philippe Petit, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a twinkle in his eye and a faintly silly French accent that works perfectly. In Paris, Philippe is working as a street performer when he sees a drawing of the planned Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center, and he immediately vows to put a wire between them and walk on it. Over the next few years, he recruits a team of accomplices, including his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) and his circus-performer mentor Rudy (Ben Kingsley). Then in Manhattan, they find some men (James Badge Dale and Steve Valentine) to help them on the inside. And in August 1974, just before the towers were finished, they set their elaborate plan in motion.
While other accounts of this story describe Petit's high-wire performance in words and grainy still photos, Zemeckis uses swooping camera movement and vertiginous angles to give the audience goosebumps as Petit elegantly walks back and forth more than 400 meters above the gawping crowd below. After the rousing caper that went on before, this sequence is exhilarating. And Gordon-Levitt plays it beautifully, channeling the man's mischievous passion into every step. This even helps the audience accept the silly narration segments, in which Petit describes the action while perched on the top of the Statue of Liberty with 1970s Manhattan in the background.
Continue reading: The Walk Review
Philippe Petit is a young French high-wire artist, passionate about his tightrope dream and determined to find the perfect place to take the walk of his life. Soon he comes across the newly completed World Trade Centre's Twin Towers in New York; imposing edifices standing at more than 400 metres tall, larger than any man-made structures on Earth. After his first visit to the skyscraper rooftops, he knows he must do everything in his power to achieve this impossible dream - even if he risks death or prosecution in doing so. He hires some technically skilled friends who are willing to covertly set up the wire between the buildings and, after a few nervous doubts, injuries and complications with police, he takes the plunge and performs the most memorable high-wire act in history.
Continue: The Walk - Extended Trailer
French artist Philippe Petit made history in 1974 for his death-defying high-wire feat in New York, where he performed a series of tricks across a cable that was rigged between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Having been learning to command a tightrope since the tender age of 16, by the time he was 25 he was ready to shock the world with his extraordinary courage and ability in what was possibly one of the most dangerous stunts in human history. Not only that, but his walk actually turned out to be completely unauthorised; a feat of trespassing that took Philippe hours and hours of planning and careful deception. However, when it came down to it, seeing just how much he thrilled the crowd that gathered in the streets below, he was naturally let off all charges by an impressed judge.
Continue: The Walk - Teaser Trailer
A relentlessly smiley-glowy tone threatens to undo this film at every turn, but it's just about rescued by a spiky script and the adept cast. Director Lasse Hallstrom has been indulging in warm-fuzzy filmmaking since 2000's Chocolat, and this story (based on the Richard Morais book) seems set in the same fanciful, far too-cute France, created with digital effects rather than cinematography. Nothing is remotely realistic, but the characters are engaging and the food looks absolutely delicious. This is definitely not a film to see on an empty stomach.
The central character is Hassan (90210's Manish Dayal), who was born in India and developed his prodigious gift as a chef with his late mother. Now refugees in Europe, Hassan's Papa (Om Puri) is on a quest to establish a restaurant with his five children. They settle on an impossibly quaint French village, and set up their Indian eatery just across the road from the Michelin-starred restaurant run by the imperious Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), who of course immediately declares war on these interlopers. Meanwhile, Hassan begins exploring French cookery with Mallory's sexy sous-chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon). And his innate expertise catches Mallory's attention.
This simple twist helps propel the story and draw us in, as Hassan proves that he can teach Mallory a thing or two. Where this goes is played out in a simplistic way, but for audience members who are looking for meaning there's quite a bit of insight scattered around the script. Otherwise, Hallstrom is far more interested in superficial imagery, never quite letting the actors dig deep into their characters. Dayal shows some real texture as Hassan, but is reduced in the editing to merely smiling or frowning to show the character's frame of mind. And his relationship with Le Bon's impossibly perky Marguerite is almost painfully predictable.
Continue reading: The Hundred-Foot Journey Review
Your beloved Audrey is not starring in a sweet romantic comedy this time around.
Continue reading: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not Review
Throughout the first half of "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" -- a deceptive romantic thriller that thinks itself full of clever twists -- writer-director Laetitia Colombani conspicuously leaves out so many details of her story that it's a dead give-away something is amiss.
She buys a little time and good will from the audience by casting angelic Audrey Tautou -- the sweetheart of arthouse cinema after 2001's "Amélie" -- as her heroine, an art student zealously in love with a young, handsome, married cardiologist (Samuel Le Bihan, "Brotherhood of the Wolf").
Colombani tries to skirt around the fact that Le Bihan doesn't seem to be in love with Tautou -- he's noticeably absent from her day-to-day life -- by having their affair unfold only through Tautou's gossip to a girlfriend (Sophie Guillemin) and lonely bleating to an innocuous, haplessly smitten male classmate (Clement Sibony) who just wants to be near her.
Continue reading: He Loves Me Review
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Philippe Petit is a young French high-wire artist, passionate about his tightrope dream and determined...
French artist Philippe Petit made history in 1974 for his death-defying high-wire feat in New...
A relentlessly smiley-glowy tone threatens to undo this film at every turn, but it's just...
Throughout the first half of "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" -- a deceptive...